Best Moon Phase for Freshwater Fishing

The best times to go fishing are when the fish are naturally most active. The Sun, Moon phase, tides, and weather all influence fish activity. For example, fish tend to feed more at sunrise and sunset, and also during a full moon lunar phase when tides are higher than average. What is the Best Moon Phase for Freshwater Fishing?

According to Fishermen & the Farmers Almanac, a Full & New Moon is the best Moon Phase for freshwater fishing, these moons have an impact on everything that dwells in & around H2O, just as they do on tides & freshwater fish that rise to moonlit surfaces excited which improves metabolism & appetite. 

During the day, a full moon, sometimes known as a “fishing moon,” can create some fish mischief that can also keep you busy with good action. The moon cycles have an impact on everything that dwells in the water, just as they do on the tides. This is also true for freshwater fish and activity.

Best Moon Phase for Freshwater Fishing

Most fishermen believe that the position and calendar lunar age of the moon, more than anything else, dictates great game fish success or lack thereof. Most anglers on salt and freshwater use the lunar cycle and the best moon phase to plan fish trips and use them as an excuse for skunking or coming up empty.

The best moon phase for freshwater fishing can vary depending on various factors such as the species of fish you’re targeting, the time of year, and the specific location you’re fishing in. However, many anglers believe that the period around the new moon or full moon can often be productive for fishing.

During the new moon phase, which occurs when the moon is not visible in the sky, some anglers find that fish may be more active, particularly at night. This could be because there is less ambient light, making it easier for predatory fish to hunt for prey. Additionally, during the new moon phase, there tends to be stronger tidal movements, which can influence fish behavior in freshwater systems connected to tidal waters.

Conversely, the full moon phase, when the moon is fully illuminated, can also be a productive time for fishing. Some anglers believe that fish are more active during this phase, possibly due to increased visibility and feeding opportunities at night.

However, it’s essential to note that fishing success is influenced by many factors beyond just the moon phase, such as weather conditions, water temperature, and the availability of food sources. Therefore, while paying attention to the moon phase can be a useful guideline, it’s essential to consider other factors as well and adapt your fishing tactics accordingly. Experimenting with different moon phases and observing how they affect fishing in your particular fishing spot can help you determine the best times to fish.

Solunar Fishing: Can Moon Phases Help Catch Freshwater Fish

Yes, solunar fishing theory suggests that the positions of the sun and moon relative to the earth can influence fish behavior and therefore affect fishing success. While this theory is debated among anglers and scientists, many fishermen believe that certain moon phases can indeed influence freshwater fishing.

According to solunar theory, there are peak times each day when fish are more likely to be actively feeding. These peak times occur when the gravitational pull of the moon and sun align in such a way that they exert more force on the Earth’s water bodies, creating what are known as major and minor feeding periods. During these periods, some anglers believe that fish are more likely to be actively feeding and therefore more responsive to bait or lures.

In general, many anglers find that fishing during the periods around the new moon and full moon can be productive. However, it’s important to note that other factors, such as weather conditions, water temperature, and the specific habits of the fish species you’re targeting, also play significant roles in fishing success.

While solunar theory can be a useful tool for freshwater anglers, it’s essential to approach it with some skepticism and to combine it with other knowledge and observations about fish behavior and local fishing conditions. Experimenting with different moon phases and noting your fishing successes and failures can help you determine whether solunar influences are relevant in your particular fishing spot.

Solunar fishing theory suggests that the positions of the sun and moon relative to Earth influence fish behavior, ultimately affecting catch rates. Specifically, the theory proposes that certain moon phases, such as full moons and new moons, can trigger increased activity among freshwater fish.

During these lunar phases, fish may be more inclined to feed, resulting in more successful fishing outings for anglers who time their trips accordingly. Additionally, solunar tables provide anglers with predictions of peak fishing times based on lunar and solar data, allowing them to optimize their chances of a successful catch. While scientific evidence supporting solunar fishing theory may vary, many anglers swear by its effectiveness, incorporating lunar phases into their fishing strategies to enhance their freshwater fishing experiences.

The Solunar Theory

The Solunar Theory is a hypothesis that suggests the movement and behavior of fish and other wildlife are influenced by the positions and phases of the moon, as well as the sun. This theory posits that certain times, based on the alignment of the sun and moon, are more conducive to increased feeding and activity among fish, which in turn can affect fishing success.

The theory was popularized by John Alden Knight, an American outdoor writer, in the early 20th century. Knight studied and compiled data on fishing success rates relative to moon phases and positions. He proposed that specific times within each lunar cycle, known as solunar periods, are more favorable for fishing due to increased fish activity.

According to the Solunar Theory, factors such as moonrise, moonset, moon overhead, and moon underfoot can influence fish behavior. Additionally, the theory takes into account sunrise and sunset times, as well as the moon’s phase (full moon, new moon, etc.).

Solunar tables and charts are often used by anglers to predict these peak activity periods, helping them plan their fishing trips for optimal success. While the Solunar Theory has been met with some skepticism and debate among scientists and anglers, many fishermen continue to rely on it as a useful tool for planning their outings and improving their catch rates.

Lunar Fishing Calendar | Fishing calendar for the best fishing days

What is Lunar Moon Phase

A lunar Moon Phase is when the moon as it moves around the earth, appears to change shape each night from our view. Some nights, the Moon might look like a narrow crescent. On other nights, the Moon might look like a bright circle, and on other nights, you might not be able to see the Moon at all.

The different phases of the lunar moon are caused by the angle from which an observer on Earth can see the moon illuminated by the sun as it orbits our planet. As the moon makes its way around the earth, a person can look up in the sky and see various fractions of its surface reflecting sunlight.

The Eight Moon phases:

🌑 New Moon Phase: We cannot see the Moon when it is a new moon.

🌒 Waxing Crescent Moon Phase: In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the waxing crescent phase as a thin crescent of light on the right.

🌓 First Quarter Moon Phase: We see the first quarter phase as a half-moon.

🌔 Waxing Gibbous Moon Phase: The waxing gibbous phase is between a half-moon and a full moon. Waxing means it is getting bigger.

🌕 Full Moon Phase: We can see the Moon completely illuminated during full moons.

🌖 Waning Gibbous Moon Phase: The waning gibbous phase is between a full moon and a half moon. Waning means it is getting smaller.

🌗 Third Quarter Moon Phase: We see the third quarter moon as a half moon, too. It is the opposite half as illuminated in the first quarter moon.

🌘 Waning Crescent Moon Phase: In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the waning crescent phase as a thin crescent of light on the left.

The Moon displays these eight phases one after the other as it moves through its cycle each month. It takes about 27.3 days for the Moon to orbit Earth. However, because of how the sunlight hits the lunar Moon, it takes about 29.5 days to go from one new moon to the next new moon.

While there is always half of the moon that is lit up by the sun the observer on Earth will only see the moon pass through its phases one full time in 29 and a half days.

  • Fishing one hour before and one hour after high tides, and one hour before and one hour after low tides. Inland, the times for high tides correspond with the times when the lunar Moon is due south. Low tides are halfway between high tides.
  • Fishing during the “morning rise” (after sunup for a spell) and the “evening rise” (just before sundown and the hour or so after).
  • Fishing is better during the rise and set of the Moon
  • Fishing when the barometer is steady or on the rise. (But even during stormy periods, the fish aren’t going to give up feeding. The smart fisherman will find just the right bait.)
  • Fishing when there is a hatch of flies—caddis flies or mayflies, commonly. (The fisherman will have to match his fly with the hatching flies or go fishless.)
  • Fishing is better when the breeze is from a westerly quarter rather than from the north or east.
  • Fishing is better when the water is still or slightly rippled, rather than during a wind.

Do Moon Phases Affect Fishing?

Most anglers on salt & freshwater use moon phases & the lunar cycle to plan fishing trips because they believe that the best times for fishing are during a new moon phase or a full moon cycle when tides & currents are strongest ………………………………………read more

Freshwater Fish on a Lunar Full-Moon Blood Moon-Fishing Moon

Solunar Theory - Yup, We're going there! - Slaney Fishing
Solunar Theory

On the eve of a lunar full moon, when the night sky paints itself in a celestial spectacle, freshwater fish stir in anticipation beneath the moon-kissed waters. As the moon reaches its fullest, casting an ethereal glow upon the tranquil surface, anglers eagerly await the dance of nature’s nocturnal hunters.

Under the bewitching spell of the Blood Moon, the waters seem to pulse with life, drawing forth elusive species from their hiding places. Amidst the lulling symphony of nocturnal creatures, freshwater fish emerge from their sanctuaries, their scales shimmering like silver under the lunar radiance.

With skilled hands and bated breath, anglers cast their lines into the moonlit abyss, each ripple a whispered invitation to the denizens below. In this mystical realm where reality blends with the otherworldly, the pursuit of freshwater fish becomes a dance of patience and reverence under the enchanting gaze of the Blood Moon.

Most fishermen at least 90% of the anglers I know, only consider the importance of the four lunar phases anglers need to think about.  Many fishermen swear based on life experience that catches will come from the full moon and new lunar moon. The idea behind the best fishing being moon fishing, phase fishing, or fishing by moon phases is that the bigger the tide, the better fishing and the more active the fish. This equates somehow inland where there are no tides.

  • New Moon
  • First Quarter
  • Full Moon
  • Last Quarter

The Farmer’s Almanac has a ton of information for anglers during the major or minor feeding periods, fishing during a new moon full or new moon in seven days, including a list of the finest lunar fishing and the greatest activity days of the year.

Solunar Fishing: Can Moon Phases Help Your Catch Rate?
Solunar Fishing: Can Moon Phases Help Your Catch Rate?

Here’s a list of freshwater fish species that are often sought after during lunar full moons:

  1. Largemouth Bass: Known for their predatory instincts, largemouth bass become more active during full moons, making them prime targets for anglers seeking an exhilarating challenge.
  2. Catfish: Nocturnal by nature, catfish are particularly active during the night, especially under the illumination of a full moon. Anglers targeting catfish often find success in moonlit waters.
  3. Crappie: These elusive panfish are known to gather in schools during full moons, making them easier to locate and catch for anglers skilled in the art of finesse fishing.
  4. Walleye: Renowned for their nocturnal feeding habits, walleye are more likely to roam shallow waters and ambush prey under the cover of darkness, particularly during full moons.
  5. Northern Pike: Aggressive and opportunistic, northern pike are drawn to the surface under the glow of a full moon, providing anglers with thrilling strikes and memorable battles.
  6. Trout: While some trout species prefer low light conditions, others, like brown trout, may become more active during the night of a full moon, presenting anglers with unique opportunities for fly fishing and bait casting.
  7. Striped Bass: Often found in coastal and freshwater environments, striped bass are known to exhibit increased feeding activity during full moons, particularly in tidal rivers and estuaries.
  8. Bluegill/Sunfish: These prolific panfish are known to feed throughout the day, but during full moons, they may exhibit heightened activity levels, making them easy targets for anglers of all skill levels.
  9. Carp: Despite their reputation for being cautious, carp may become more active and less wary during full moons, offering patient anglers the chance to land these powerful freshwater giants.
  10. Musky: Referred to as the “fish of 10,000 casts,” musky are notorious for their elusive nature. However, during full moons, these apex predators may become more active, providing dedicated anglers with the opportunity to pursue their trophy catch.
Beaver blood moon 2022: Where and when you can see it in India | Condé Nast Traveller India
Blood Moon

These dates are based on the full moon, and lunar phases and are divided into major and minor categories. The most important thing to remember about fishing by the moon is that periods of a full or new moon tend to affect fishing and be the best times for river, freshwater, or ocean fishing.

When the moon is exactly overhead or below your latitude, major periods for fishing occur. When the moon is 90 degrees on each side of your baseline, a minor period for fishing occurs.

When the moon is full, there is no great fishing, according to traditional knowledge, the conclusion of a lunar cycle reduces your odds of catching fish two days before and after a full moon. And because the lunar moon influences the ocean water tides, it’s no surprise that many fishermen feel this way. A full lunar moon disrupts the fish’s behavioral patterns including feeding patterns.

During the day,  lunar full moon phases also known as a “fishing moon,” can create some fish mischief that can also keep you busy with good action. The moon cycles have an impact on everything that dwells in the water, just as they do on the tides. This is also true for freshwater fish under lunar moon activity.

Freshwater fish like Bluegill, Bass, and Crappie spawn or lay their eggs or will just tend to hang around on the surface of a lake at night during a full-moon event enticed by the light reflected off the surface that often offers up some snacks.

Plan your best fishing time for success on major or minor fish-feeding periods that occur near times of sunrise or sunset that also coincide with a full or new lunar moon phase.

Worst Moon Phase for Fishing

The “worst” moon phase for fishing is a bit subjective and can vary depending on various factors such as location, species of fish, and individual fishing preferences. However, some anglers tend to find that fishing during periods of a bright, full moon can be challenging. The illumination from a full moon can make fish more cautious and less likely to venture out into open waters, especially in shallow or clear freshwater environments where they may feel more exposed to predators. Additionally, during a full moon, fish may be more active at night, making daytime fishing less productive. However, it’s essential to remember that fishing success is influenced by numerous factors beyond just the moon phase, so adapting tactics and experimenting with different strategies can still yield positive results even during less favorable lunar phases.

What is the best Moon Phase for Saltwater Fishing?

Most Saltwater fishermen agree the best fishing in a Moon Phase is a few days leading up to a New Moon and 2 or more days after. With a Full Moon, it’s 3 or 4 days leading up to the Full Moon Including…………………………………read more

JimGalloway Author/Editor


Sport Fishing- How Moon Phase Affects Fishing


  1. What equipment do I need for freshwater fishing?  Essential equipment includes a fishing rod and reel, fishing line, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, bait or lures, and a tackle box to store your gear. Other useful items include a fishing net, pliers, and a fishing knife.
  2. When is the best time to go freshwater fishing? The best time to go fishing can vary depending on factors such as the species you’re targeting, weather conditions, and local regulations. However, early morning and late afternoon tend to be popular times when fish are often more active. Additionally, some anglers believe that fishing during specific moon phases, known as solunar periods, can increase their chances of success.
  3. What are some beginner-friendly freshwater fish to catch?  Beginner anglers often have success targeting species such as bluegill, sunfish, trout, catfish, and bass. These fish are relatively abundant in many freshwater bodies and can be caught using simple techniques and equipment.
  4. What bait should I use for freshwater fishing?  The best bait to use depends on the species of fish you’re targeting. Live bait such as worms, minnows, and crickets are popular choices for many freshwater fish. Artificial lures, including spinners, jigs, and crankbaits, can also be effective in enticing strikes.
  5. How do I find good fishing spots?  Good fishing spots can be found by researching local lakes, rivers, and ponds, consulting with experienced anglers, or hiring a guide. Look for areas with underwater structures, such as rocks, fallen trees, and weed beds, as these provide habitat for fish.

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